US 7002716 B2
A beam scanner is operable to scan light in two or more axes, typically in a raster pattern that includes a fast scan axis and a slow scan axis. Plural beams of light are scanned, each beam of light producing a scanned region that at least partially overlaps at least one adjoining scanned region. Scanned regions may be aligned to adjoin and overlap along a dimension corresponding to the slow scan axis. The beam scanner may comprise a scanned beam display and/or a scanned beam image capture device. In a display, the power level of overlapping displayed pixels may be scaled to provide smooth transitions between adjoining regions to improve the image quality presented to a viewer. In an image capture device, one or more detectors is operable to collect light scattered from adjoining regions and a controller is operable to produce an image from the scanned regions.
1. A beam scanner, comprising: a plurality of light sources operable to emit a plurality of respective beams of light; and at least one beam deflector aligned to receive the plurality of beams of light from the plurality of light sources and operable to scan the beams in at least two dimensions including a fast scan axis and a slow scan axis across respective overlapping regions of a field of view, wherein the overlapping regions of the field of view are arranged such that each region extends along a dimension corresponding to the fast scan axis and overlaps with at least one region adjacent in a dimension corresponding to the slow scan axis.
2. The beam scanner of
3. The beam scanner of
4. The beam scanner of
5. The beam scanner of
6. The beam scanner of
7. The beam scanner of
8. The beam scanner of
9. The beam scanner of
10. The beam scanner of
11. The beam scanner of
12. A method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view, comprising the steps of:
generating a plurality of beams of light;
directing the plurality of beams of light toward a scanner;
scanning the plurality of beams of light across a field of view along fast scan and slow scan axes, wherein each of the plurality of scanned beams illuminates a respective region of the field of view that overlaps with at least one other of the respective regions adjacent in a dimension corresponding to the slow scan axis; and
modulating the intensity of each of the plurality of beams of light to compensate for the illumination energy produced by the other beams.
13. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
modulating the intensity of the beams to produce an image on the field of view.
14. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
15. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
16. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
17. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
18. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
19. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
receiving a image for display; and
modulating the intensity of the plurality of beams of light to produce an illuminated pattern in the field of view corresponding to the image.
20. The method for blending illuminated regions in a field of view of
21. An image capture device, comprising:
a beam scanner operable to scan a plurality of beams across respective regions of a field-of-view, the regions having at least two dimensions corresponding to a fast scan axis and a slow scan axis, wherein each of the plurality of regions at least partially overlaps at least one other region aligned in a dimension corresponding to the slow scan axis;
a detector aligned to receive beam energy scattered from the field-of-view and output an electrical signal corresponding to the received energy; and
a controller coupled to receive the electrical signal from the detector and output a representation of the received beam energy.
22. The image capture device of
a mechanical housing that encloses the beam scanner, detector and controller.
23. The image capture device of
24. The image capture device of
25. The image capture device of
26. The image capture device of
27. The image capture device of
28. The image capture device of
29. The image capture device of
30. The image capture device of
31. A scanned beam display, comprising:
a controller operable to receive an image signal and generate a control signal having plural instances of at least some pixels; and
a beam scanner coupled to receive the control signal from the controller and operable to scan a plurality of at least partially overlapping beams across respective regions of a field-of-view, the regions having at least two dimensions corresponding to a fast scan axis and a slow scan axis, wherein each of the plurality of regions at least partially overlaps at least one other region aligned in a dimension corresponding to the slow scan axis.
32. The scanned beam display of
33. The scanned beam display of
34. The scanned beam display of
35. The scanned beam display of
36. The scanned beam display of
37. The scanned beam display of
a screen aligned to receive the scanned beams.
38. The scanned beam display of
39. The scanned beam display of
a beam expander aligned to receive the scanned beams and operable to project beamlets to the eye of an observer.
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 10/339,953, filed Jan. 10, 2003 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,687,034, which is a continuation of application Ser. No. 10/075,679, filed on Feb. 13, 2002 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,512,622 on Jan. 28, 2003, which is a divisional of application Ser. No. 09/816,804, filed on Mar. 23, 2001 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,384,406 on May 7, 2002, which is a continuation of application Ser. No. 09/370,795, filed on Aug. 5, 1999 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,256,131 on Jul. 3, 2001.
The present invention relates to scanned light devices and, more particularly, to scanned light beam displays and imaging devices for viewing or collecting images.
A variety of techniques are available for providing visual displays of graphical or video images to a user. In many applications cathode ray tube type displays (CRTs), such as televisions and computer monitors produce images for viewing. Such devices suffer from several limitations. For example, CRTs are bulky and consume substantial amounts of power, making them undesirable for portable or head-mounted applications.
Matrix addressable displays, such as liquid crystal displays and field emission displays, may be less bulky and consume less power. However, typical matrix addressable displays utilize screens that are several inches across. Such screens have limited use in head mounted applications or in applications where the display is intended to occupy only a small portion of a user's field of view. Such displays have been reduced in size, at the cost of increasingly difficult processing and limited resolution or brightness. Also, improving resolution of such displays typically requires a significant increase in complexity.
One approach to overcoming many limitations of conventional displays is a scanned beam display, such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,467,104 of Furness et al., entitled VIRTUAL RETINAL DISPLAY, which is incorporated herein by reference. As shown diagrammatically in
The scanned light enters the eye 44 through the viewer's pupil 48 and is imaged onto the retina 59 by the cornea. In response to the scanned light the viewer perceives an image. In another embodiment, the scanned source 42 scans the modulated light beam onto a screen that the viewer observes. One example of such a scanner suitable for either type of display is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,557,444 to Melville et al., entitled MINIATURE OPTICAL SCANNER FOR A TWO-AXIS SCANNING SYSTEM, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Sometimes such displays are used for partial or augmented view applications. In such applications, a portion of the display is positioned in the user's field of view and presents an image that occupies a region 43 of the user's field of view 45, as shown in
One difficulty that may arise with such displays is raster pinch, as will now be explained with reference to
Returning to the description of scanning, as the beam scans through each successive location in the beam expander 62, the beam color and intensity is modulated in a fashion to be described below to form a respective pixel of an image. By properly controlling the color and intensity of the beam for each pixel location, the display 40 can produce the desired image.
Simplified versions of the respective waveforms of the vertical and horizontal scanners are shown in
For a given refresh rate and a given wavelength, the number of pixels per line is determined in the structure of
One skilled in the art will recognize that scanning is an important function in such displays and in many other applications. For many applications it is desirable to have a small, high-performance, reliable scanning apparatus.
A display includes a primary scanning mechanism that simultaneously scans a plurality of beams of light both horizontally and vertically along substantially continuous scan paths where each beam defines a discrete “tile” of an image. In the preferred embodiment, the scanning mechanism includes a mirror that pivots to sweep the beams horizontally.
Optical sources are aligned to provide the beams of light to the scanning mechanism from respective input angles. The input angles are selected such that the scanning mechanism sweeps each beam of light across a respective distinct region of an image field. Because the respective regions are substantially non-overlapping, each beam of light generates a substantially spatially distinct region of the image. The respective regions are immediately adjacent or may overlap slightly, so that the spatially distinct regions are “tiled” to form a contiguous image. Because movement of the mirror produces movement of all of the beams, the display produces each of the spatially separate regions simultaneously. As described above, the scan angle θ and the mirror dimensions determine the number of pixels drawn for each beam. The total number of pixels in a line can thus substantially equal the number of pixels for each beam multiplied by the number of beams.
In one embodiment, the scanning mechanism scans in a generally raster pattern with a horizontal component and a vertical component. A mechanically resonant scanner produces the horizontal component by scanning the beam sinusoidally. A non-resonant or semi-resonant scanner typically scans the beam vertically with a substantially constant angular speed.
In one embodiment, the scanning mechanism includes a biaxial microelectromechanical (MEMs) scanner. The biaxial scanner uses a single mirror to provide both horizontal and vertical movement of each of the beams. In one embodiment, the display includes a buffer that stores data and outputs the stored data to each of the optical sources. A correction multiplier provides correction data that adjusts the drive signals to the optical sources in response to the stored data. The adjusted drive signals compensate for variations in output intensity caused by pattern dependent heating.
In one embodiment, the MEMs scanner is a resonant scanner that has a characteristic resonant frequency. Where the resonant frequency does not match the rate at which image data is supplied, data may be clocked into and out of the buffer at different rates.
Alternatively, the MEMs scanner may have a tunable resonant frequency that can be adjusted to conform to the rate at which image data is provided. In one embodiment of such a MEMs scanner, a primary oscillatory body carries a secondary mass that can move relative to the primary oscillatory body, thereby changing the rotational inertia. The changed rotational inertia changes the resonant frequency and can be controlled by an applied control signal. By monitoring movement of the oscillatory body and comparing the monitored movement to the desired scanning frequency, a control circuit generates the appropriate control signal to synchronize the scanning frequency to the input data rate.
In another embodiment of an actively tunable MEMs scanner, a torsion arm supports the oscillatory body and includes a responsive coating. The responsive coating, in one embodiment, absorbs or outgasses a selected gas as controlled by an input electrical signal or other approaches to controlling gas concentration in the responsive coating. The gas concentration controls the mechanical properties of the responsive coating, thereby affecting the mechanical properties of the torsion arm. Because the mechanical properties of the torsion arm affect the resonant frequency, the resonant frequency can be controlled by the input electrical signal or other inputs that control gas concentration in the responsive coating.
In one embodiment, an imager acquires images in tiles by utilizing two separate detector and optical source pairs. One embodiment of the imager includes LEDs or lasers as the optical sources, where each of the optical sources is at a respective wavelength. The scanning assembly simultaneously directs light from each of the optical sources to respective regions of an image field. For each location in the image field, each of the detectors selectively detects light at the wavelength, polarization, or other characteristic of its corresponding source, according to the reflectivity of the respective location. The detectors output electrical signals to decoding electronics that store data representative of the image field.
In one embodiment, the imager includes a plurality of detector/optical source pairs at each of red, green, and blue wavelength bands. Each pair operates at a respective wavelength within its band. For example, a first of the red pairs operates at a first red wavelength and a second of the red pairs operates at a second red wavelength different from the first.
In one embodiment, a pair of optical sources alternately feed a single scanner from different angles. During forward sweeps of the scanner, a first of the sources emits light modulated according to one half of a line. During the return sweep, the second source emits light modulated according to the second half of the line. Because the second sweep is in the opposite direction from the first, data corresponding to the second half of the line is reversed before being applied to the second source so that light from the second source is modulated to write the second half of the line in reverse.
In one embodiment of the alternate feeding approach, a single light emitter feeds an input fiber that is selectively coupled to one of two separate fibers by an optical switch. During forward sweeps, the optical switch couples the input fiber to a first of the separate fibers so that the first separate fiber forms the first optical source. During reverse sweep, the optical switch feeds the second separate fiber so that the second separate fiber forms the second source. This embodiment thus allows a single light emitter to provide light for both optical sources.
The alternate feeding approach can be expanded to write more than just two tiles. In one approach, the input fiber is coupled to four fibers by a set of optical switches, where each fiber feeds the scanning assembly from a respective angle. The switches are activated according to the direction of the sweep and according to the tracked location of the user's vision. For example, when the user looks at the top half of the image, a first fiber, aligned to produce an image in the upper left tile feeds the scanner during the forward sweeps. A second fiber, aligned to produce an upper right tile feeds the scanner during reverse sweeps. When the user looks at the lower half of the image, a third fiber, aligned to produce the lower left tile, feeds scanner during forward sweeps. A fourth fiber, aligned to produce the lower right tile, feeds the scanner during reverse sweeps.
As shown in
The display 70 includes four principal portions, each of which will be described in greater detail below. First, control electronics 74 provide electrical signals that control operation of the display 70 in response to an image signal VIM from an image source 76, such as a computer, television receiver, videocassette player, DVD player, remote sensor, or similar device.
The second portion of the display 70 is a light source 78 that outputs modulated light beams 80, each having a modulation corresponding to information in the image signal VIM. The light source 78 may utilize coherent light emitters, such as laser diodes or microlasers, or may use non-coherent sources such as light emitting diodes. Also, the light source 78 may include directly modulated light emitters such as the light emitting diodes (LEDs) or may include continuous light emitters indirectly modulated by external modulators, such as acousto-optic modulators.
The third portion of the display 70 is a scanning assembly 82 that scans the modulated beams 80 through two-dimensional scanning patterns, such as raster patterns. The scanning assembly 82 preferably includes a periodically scanning mirror or mirrors as will be described in greater detail below with reference to
Lenses 84, 86 positioned on opposite sides of the scanning assembly 82 act as imaging optics that form the fourth portion of the display 70. The lenses 86 are cylindrical graded index (GRIN) lenses that gather and shape light from the light source 78. Where the light source 78 includes optical fibers that feed the lenses 86, the lenses 86 may be bonded to or integral to the fibers. Alternatively, other types of lenses, such as doublets or triplets, may form the lenses 86. Also, other types of optical elements such as diffractive elements may be used to shape and guide the light. Regardless of the type of element, the overall optical train may incorporate polarization sensitive materials, chromatic correction, or any other optical technique for controlling the shape, phase or other characteristics of the light.
The lens 84 is formed from a curved, partially transmissive mirror that shapes and focuses the scanned beams 80 approximately for viewing by the eye 72. After leaving the lens 84, the scanned beams 80 enter the eye 72 through a pupil 90 and strike the retina 92. As each beam of scanned modulated light strikes the retina 92, the viewer perceives a respective portion of the image as will be described below.
Because the lens 84 is partially transmissive, the lens 84 combines the light from the scanning assembly 82 with the light received from a background 89 to produce a combined input to the viewer's eye 72. Although the background 89 is presented herein as a “real-world” background, the background light may be occluded or may be produced by another light source of the same or different type. One skilled in the art will recognize that a variety of other optical elements may replace or supplement the lenses 84, 86. For example, diffractive elements such as Fresnel lenses may replace either or both of the lenses 84, 86. Additionally, a beamsplitter and lens may replace the partially transmissive mirror structure of the lens 84. Moreover, various other optical elements, such as polarizers, color filters, exit pupil expanders, chromatic correction elements, eye-tracking elements, and background masks may also be incorporated for certain applications.
Although the elements of
An exemplary embodiment of the scanning assembly 82 will be described next with reference to
In this embodiment, a pair of fibers 50 emit light from the light sources 78 (not shown) and the lens 84 is represented as a common refractive lens rather than as a partially transmissive mirror. Unlike the scanning source 42 of
Before describing the effects of the correction mirror 100 and the relative timing of the various signals, exemplary embodiments of mechanically resonant scanner 200, 220 suitable for use as the horizontal scanner 56 and vertical scanner 58 will be described with reference to
The principal scanning component of the horizontal scanner 200 is a moving mirror 202 mounted to a spring plate 204. The dimensions of the mirror 202 and spring plate 204 and the material properties of the spring plate 204 have a high Q with a natural oscillatory (“resonant”) frequency on the order of 1–100 kHz, where the selected resonant frequency depends upon the application. For VGA quality output with a 60 Hz refresh rate and no interlacing, the resonant frequency is preferably about 15–20 kHz. As will be described below, the selected resonant frequency or the achievable resolution may be changed through the use of a plurality of feeds.
A ferromagnetic material mounted with the mirror 202 is driven by a pair of electromagnetic coils 206, 208 to provide motive force to mirror 202, thereby initiating and sustaining oscillation. The ferromagnetic material is preferably integral to the spring plate 204 and body of the mirror 202. Drive electronics 218 provide electrical signals to activate the coils 206, 208, as described above. Responsive to the electrical signals, the coils 206, 208 produce periodic electromagnetic fields that apply force to the ferromagnetic material, thereby causing oscillation of the mirror 202. If the frequency and phase of the electric signals are properly synchronized with the movement of the mirror 202, the mirror 202 oscillates at its resonant frequency with little power consumption.
The vertical scanner 220 is structured very similarly to the resonant scanner 200. Like the resonant scanner 201, the vertical scanner 220 includes a mirror 222 driven by a pair of coils 224, 226 in response to electrical signals from the drive electronics 218. However, because the rate of oscillation is much lower for vertical scanning, the vertical scanner 220 is typically not resonant. The mirror 222 receives light from the horizontal scanner 201 and produces vertical deflection at about 30–100 Hz. Advantageously, the lower frequency allows the mirror 222 to be significantly larger than the mirror 202, thereby reducing constraints on the positioning of the vertical scanner 220. The details of virtual retinal displays and mechanical resonant scanning are described in greater detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,467,104, of Furness III, et al., entitled VIRTUAL RETINAL DISPLAY which is incorporated herein by reference.
One skilled in the art will recognize a variety of other structures that may scan a light beam through a generally raster pattern. For example, spinning polygons or galvanometric scanners may form either or both of the scanners56, 58 in some applications.
In another embodiment, a bi-axial microelectromechanical (MEMs) scanner may provide the primary scanning. Some such scanners are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,629,790 to Neukermanns et al., entitled MICROMACHINED TORSIONAL SCANNER, which is incorporated herein by reference. While the scanner of the '790 patent is the presently preferred embodiment, a variety of other MEMs scanners may also be appropriate for certain applications. For example, surface micromachined biaxial scanners and other MEMs scanners have been described by various authors.
Like the scanning system described above, the horizontal components of the MEMs scanners are typically defined by mechanical resonances of their respective structures, as will be described in greater detail below with reference to
One skilled in the art will recognize that several components of the scanning assembly 82 have been omitted from the
For clarity of presentation, the embodiment of
Also, although the fibers 50 and lenses 84 of
After exiting the lens 86, the first beam 80A strikes the scanning mirror 1090 and is reflected toward an image field 1094. The second beam 80B is also reflected by the scanning mirror 1090 toward the image field 1094. As shown by the ray tracing of
At the image field 1092, the first beam 80A illuminates a first region 1092 of the image field 1094 and the second beam 80B illuminates a second region 1096 that is substantially non-overlapping with respect to the first region 1092. To allow a smooth transition between the two regions 1092, 1096, the two regions 1092, 1096 overlap slightly in a small overlap region 1098. Thus, although the two regions are substantially distinct, the corresponding image portions may be slightly “blended” at the edges, as will be described below with reference to
While only two beams 80A–B are visible in
Thus, the four beams 80A–D each illuminate four separate “tiles” 1202A–D that together form an entire image. One skilled in the art will recognize that more than four tiles may form the image. For example, adding a third set of fiber/lens pairs could produce a 2-by-3 tile image or a 3-by-2 tile image.
To produce an actual image, the intensity and color content of each of the beams 80A–D is modulated with image information as the mirror 1090 sweeps through a periodic pattern, such as a raster pattern.
The image signal VIM drives an A/D converter 1302 that produces corresponding data to drive a demultiplexer 1304. In response to the data and a clock signal CK from the controller 74 (
One skilled in the art will recognize that, although the system of
One approach to improving image quality that is helpful in “matching” the image portions 1202A–D to each other will now be described with reference to
If the turning mirror 100 (
On approach to providing the stair step pattern would be to drive the vertical scanner 58 with the stair step voltage. However, because the vertical mirror is a physical system and the stair step involves discontinuous motion, the vertical mirror will not follow the drive signal exactly. Instead, as the vertical mirror attempts to follow the stair step pattern, the vertical mirror will move at a maximum rate indicated largely by the size and weight of the vertical mirror, the material properties of the mirror support structure, the peak voltage or current of the driving signal, and electrical properties of the driving circuitry. For typical vertical scan mirror size, configuration, scan angle and driving voltage, the vertical scanner 58 is limited to frequencies on the order of 100 to 3000 Hz. The desired scan pattern has frequency components far exceeding this range. Consequently, driving the vertical scanner 58 with a stair step driving signal can produce a vertical scan pattern that deviates significantly from the desired pattern.
To reduce this problem, the scanning assembly 82 of
As can be seen from the signal timing diagram of
For example, for a display where each image region 1202A–D has 1280 vertical lines and a total mechanical vertical scan angle of 10 degrees, the angular scan range for each line is about 0.008 degrees (10/1280=0.0078125). Assuming the vertical scanner 58 travels this entire distance during the horizontal scan, an error correction to be supplied by the correction mirror 100 is about plus or minus 0.0039 degrees. The angular correction is thus approximately θ/N, where θ is the vertical scan angle and N is the number of horizontal lines. This number may be modified in some embodiments. For example, where the horizontal scanner 56 is a resonant scanner, the correction angle may be slightly different, because the horizontal scanner 56 will use some portion of the scan time to halt and begin travel in the reverse direction, as the scan reaches the edge of the field of view. The correction angle may also be modified to correct for aberrations in optical elements or optical path length differences. Moreover, the frequency of the correction scanner 100 may be reduced by half if data is provided only during one half of the horizontal scanner period (“unidirectional scanning”), although raster pinch is typically not problematic in unidirectional scanning approaches.
As can be seen from the timing diagrams of
A simple signal generator circuit 122, such as a conventional ramp generator circuit, provides the driving signal for the drive amplifier 120 in response to the detected position of the horizontal scanner 56. The principal input to the circuit 122 is a sense signal from a sensor coupled to the horizontal scanner 56. The sense signal can be obtained in a variety of approaches. For example, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,648,618 to Neukermanns et al., entitled MICROMACHINED HINGE HAVING AN INTEGRAL TORSIONAL SENSOR, which is incorporated herein by reference, torsional movement of a MEMs scanner can produce electrical outputs corresponding to the position of the scanning mirror. Alternatively, the position of the mirror may be obtained by mounting piezoelectric sensors to the scanner, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,694,237 to Melville, entitled POSITION DETECTION OF MECHANICAL RESONANT SCANNER MIRROR, which is incorporated herein by reference. In other alternatives, the position of the beam can be determined by optically or electrically monitoring the position of the horizontal or vertical scanning mirrors or by monitoring current induced in the mirror drive coils.
When the sense signal indicates that the horizontal scanner 56 is at the edge of the field of view, the circuit 122 generates a ramp signal that begins at its negative maximum and reaches its zero crossing point when the horizontal scanner reaches the middle of the field of view. The ramp signal then reaches its maximum value when the horizontal scan reaches the opposite edge of the field of view. The ramp signal returns to its negative maximum during the interval when the horizontal scan slows to a halt and begins to return sweep. Because the circuit 122 can use the sense signal as the basic clock signal for the ramp signal, timing of the ramp signal is inherently synchronized to the horizontal position of the scan. However, one skilled in the art will recognize that, for some embodiments, a controlled phase shift of the ramp signal relative to the sense signal may optimize performance. Where the correction mirror 100 is scanned resonantly, as described below with reference to
The vertical movements of the beams 80A–D induced by the correction mirrors 100 offset the movement of the beams 80A–D caused by the vertical scanner 58, so that the beams 80A–D remain stationary along the vertical axis during the horizontal scan. During the time the horizontal scan is out of the field of view, the beams 80A–D travel vertically in response to the correction mirrors 100 to the nominal positions of the next horizontal scan.
As can be seen from the above discussion, the addition of the piezoelectrically driven correction mirrors 100 can reduce the raster pinching significantly with a ramp-type of motion. However, in some applications, it may be undesirable to utilize ramp-type motion. One alternative embodiment of a scanner 130 that can be used for the correction mirror 100 is shown in
The scanner 130 is a resonant micorelectromechanical (MEMs) scanner, fabricated similarly to the uniaxial embodiment described in the Neukermanns '790 patent. Alternatively, the scanner 130 can be a mechanically resonant scanner very similar to the horizontal scanner 54 of
The use of the resonant scanner 130 can reduce the complexity of the electrical components for driving the scanner 130 and can improve the scanning efficiency relative to previously described approaches. Resonant scanners tend to have a sinusoidal motion, rather than the desired ramp-type motion described above. However, if the frequency, phase, and amplitude of the sinusoidal motion are selected appropriately, the correction mirror 100 can reduce the pinch error significantly. For example,
Another alternative embodiment of a reduced error scanner 140 is shown in
To maintain matching of the relative resonant frequencies of the horizontal scanner 56 and the correction scanner 100, the resonant frequency of either or both scanners 56, 100 may be tuned actively. Various frequency control techniques are described below with reference to
As shown in
The correction scanner 154 is preferably a MEMs scanner such as that described above with reference to
Light from the light source 78 strikes the correction mirror 154 and is deflected by a correction angle as described above. The light then strikes the biaxial scanner 152 and is scanned horizontally and vertically to approximate a raster pattern, as described above with reference to
Another embodiment of a display according to the invention, shown in
Although the embodiment of
As is known, the index of refraction of electro-optical crystals is dependent upon the electric field through the crystal. A voltage applied across the crystal 300 through a pair of electrodes 306 can control the index of refraction of the crystal 300. Thus, the applied voltage can control the index of refraction of the crystal 300. Thus the applied voltage can control the angular shift of the beam 83 as it enters and exits the crystal 300 as indicated by the broken line 83 a. The amount of shift will correspond to the applied voltage. Accordingly, the amount of shift can be controlled by controlling the voltage applied to the electrodes 306. The crystal 300 thus provides a voltage controlled beam shifter that can offset raster pinch.
Although the embodiments described herein have been displays, other devices or methods may be within the scope of the invention. For example, as shown in
The correction scanner 604 redirects light received from the gathering optics 606 as described above for the display embodiments, so that the gathered light has a correction component before it reaches the biaxial scanner 602. The biaxial scanner 602 scans through a generally raster pattern to collect light arriving at the gathering optics 606 from a range of angles and to redirect the light onto a group of stationary photodetectors 610, each positioned at a respective location and orientation, such that it images a respective “tile” of the image field.
Movement of the biaxial scanner 602 thus translates to imaging successive points of the target object 608 onto the photodetectors 610. The photodetectors 610 convert light energy from the scanner 602 into electrical signals that are received by decoding electronics 612. Where the imager 600 is a symbology reader, the decoding electronics 612 may include symbol decoding and storing circuitry and further electronics for assembling the image form the stored files. Where the imager is a portion of a camera, the decoding electronics 612 may include digital-to-analog converters, memory devices and associated electronics for storing a digital representation of the scanned tile and further electronics for assembling the image from the stored files. One skilled in the art will recognize that, although the correction scanner 604 is positioned before the bi-axial scanner 602, it may be desirable to position the correction scanner 604 following the bi-axial scanner 602 in some applications.
Another feature of the imager 600 shown in
Alternatively, the photodetectors 610 may be mounted externally to the scanners 602, 604 and oriented to capture light directly from their respective tiles. Because each photodetector 610 is wavelength matched to its respective source and because the photodetectors 610 are aligned to spatially distinct regions, crosstalk between signals from the respective tiles may be adequately suppressed.
In one application of the imager 600 of
In addition to compensating for raster pinch, one embodiment of the scanning system, shown in
As shown by broken line in
To place the pixel correctly, the system of
A feedback circuit 2204 controls timing of output from the buffer 2200 (or buffers 1306A–D of
Unlike the input clock signal, however, pulses of the output clock signal are not equally spaced. Instead, the pulse timing is determined analytically by comparing the timing of the linear signal of
The logic circuit 2208 identifies the count corresponding to a pixel location by accessing a look-up table in a memory 2210. Data in the look-up table 2210 are defined by dividing the scanning system period into many counts and identifying the count corresponding to the proper pixel location.
As shown by the upper line, pixel location varies nonlinearly for pixel counts equally spaced in time. Accordingly, the desired locations of each of the pixels, shown by the upper line, actually correspond to nonlinearly spaced counts. For example, the first pixel in the upper and lower lines arrives at the zero count and should be located in the zero count location. The second pixel arrives at the 100 count, but, should be positioned at the 540 count location. Similarly, the third pixel arrives at count 200 and is output at count 720. One skilled in the art will recognize that the figure is merely representative of the actual calculation and timing. For example, some output counts will be higher than their corresponding input counts and some counts will be lower. Of course, a pixel will not actually be output before its corresponding data arrives. To address this condition, the system of
Once each line of data is stored in the buffer 2508, the buffer is clocked to output the data to a RAMDAC 2509 that includes a gamma correction memory 2510 containing corrected data. Instead of using the buffer data as a data input to the gamma correction memory 2510, the buffer data is used to produce addressing data to retrieve the corrected data from the gamma correction memory 2510. For example, a set of image data corresponding to a selected image intensity I1 identifies a corresponding location in the gamma correction memory 2510. Rather than output the actual image data, the gamma correction memory 2510 outputs a set of corrected data that will produce the proper light intensity at the user's eye. The corrected data is determined analytically and empirically by characterizing the overall scanning system, including the transmissivity of various components, the intensity versus current response of the light source, diffractive and aperture effects of the components and a variety of other system characteristics.
In one embodiment shown in
In addition to monitoring the intensity, the system can also compensate for pattern dependent heating through the same correction data or by multiplying by a second correction factor. For example, where the displayed pattern includes a large area of high light intensity, the light source temperature will increase due to the extended period of high level activation. Because data corresponding to the image signal is stored in a buffer, the data is available prior to the actual activation of the light source 2516. Accordingly, the system can “look-ahead” to predict the amount of heating produced by the pattern. For example, if the light source will be highly activated for the 50 pixels preceding the target pixel, the system can predict an approximate pattern dependent heat effect. The correction factor can then be calculated based upon the predicted pattern dependent heating. Although the correction has been described herein for the intensity generally, the correction in many embodiments can be applied independently for red, green and blue wavelengths to compensate for different responses of the emitters and for variations in pattern colors. Compensating for each wavelength independently can help limit color imbalance due to differing variations in the signal to intensity responses of the light emitters.
The clock signal that drives the buffer 2508, correction memory 2510, and D/A converter 2512 comes from a corrected clock circuit 2520 that includes a clock generator 2522, pattern memory 2524 and rising edge detector 2526. The clock generator 2522 includes a phase locked loop (PLL) that is locked to a sense signal from the scanner 2518. The PLL generates a high frequency clock signal at about 80 MHz that is locked to the sense signal. The high frequency clock signal clocks data sequentially from addresses in the pattern memory 2524.
The rising edge detector 2526 outputs a pulse in response to each 0-to-1 transition of the data retrieved from the pattern memory 2524. The pulses then form the clock signal CKOUT that drives the buffer output, gamma correction memory 2510, and D/A converter 2512.
One skilled in the art will recognize that the timing of pulses output from the edge detector 2526 will depend upon the data stored in the pattern memory 2524 and upon the scanning frequency fSCAN of the scanner 2518.
In the example of
The number and relative timing of the pulses is thus controlled by the data stored in the pattern memory 2524. The frequency of the generator clock on the other hand depends upon the scanner frequency. As the scanner frequency varies, the timing of the pulses thus will vary, yet will depend upon the stored data in the pattern memory.
The approaches of
Moreover, the basic structure of
A graphical representation of one such data structure is shown in the simplified example
The result is that some portion of the data for one line is moved to a new line. The resulting data map in the buffer 2508 is thus distorted as can be seen from
As noted above, in many applications, it is desirable to control the scanning frequencies of one or more scanners. In non-resonant or low Q applications, simply varying the frequency of the driving signal can vary the scanning frequency. However, in high Q resonant applications, the amplitude response of the scanners may drop off dramatically if the driving signal differs from the resonant frequency of the scanner. Varying the amplitude of the driving signal can compensate somewhat, but the magnitude of the driving signal may become unacceptably high in many cases. Consequently, it is undesirable in many applications to try to control the scanner frequency fSCAN simply by controlling the driving signal frequency and/or amplitude.
One approach to controlling the frequency fSCAN is shown in
Each of the tuning tabs 3302A–D carries a ground electrode 3306 coupled by a conductor 3310 to an external electrode 3312 to form an electrical reference plane adjacent to the respective tab 3302A–D. Each of the rigid projections 3306 carries a respective hot electrode 3308 controlled by a respective external electrode 3316A–D, that allows control of the voltage difference between each tuning tab 3302A–D and its corresponding rigid projection 3306.
Each flexible tab 3302A–D is dimensioned so that it bends in response to an applied voltage difference between the tab 3302A–D and the adjacent rigid projection 3306, as shown in
One skilled in the art will recognize that the resonant frequency of the scanner 3300 will be a function of the inertia of the mirror 3304, the dimensions and mechanical properties of torsion arms 3317 supporting the mirror 3304, and the locations 3318 of the centers of mass of each half of the mirror 3304 (including its tabs 3302A–D and rigid projections 3306) relative to the axis of rotation of the mirror 3304. Bending the flexible tabs shifts the centers of mass slightly inwardly from the original locations 3318 to new locations 3320. Because the centers of mass are located closer to the axis of rotation, the rotational inertia decreases and the scanning frequency increases slightly. Increasing the voltage on the fixed projections 3306 thus can increase the resonant frequency of the scanner 3300. Although in this embodiment, the voltages on the projections 3306 are varied symmetrically to maintain balance, the invention is not so limited. In some applications, asymmetric variations may be desirable. For example, asymmetrical variations may be used to unbalance the mirror body 3304 to produce the “bow tie” effect described above with reference to
The use of electronically controlled elements to control resonance in a scanner is not limited to controlling the horizontal scanning frequency. For example, in the embodiment of
Respective conductors 3504 extend from each of the comb drives 3502 to allow tuning voltages Vtune1, Vtune2 to control the comb drives 3502. As is known, applied voltages produces lateral forces F1, F2 in the comb drives 3502. Flexible arms 3506 at the distal ends of the comb drives 3502 bend in response to the forces F1, F2, thereby shifting the mass of the flexible arms 3506 relative to the center of mass 3508 of the respective half of the mirror body. Because the position shift is parallel to the axis of rotation of the mirror body 3500, the horizontal resonant frequency does not shift significantly. However, if the voltages are set such that the flexible arms experience different position shifts, the mirror body 3500 can be made slightly unbalanced. The mirror body 3500 will then begin to approximate the Lissajous pattern of
The nodules 3610 are formed from an outgassing material, such as isopropanol in a polymer, atop a resistive heater 3611. Electrical current causes resistive heating of the heater 3611, which, in turn causes the nodule 3610 to outgas. An electronic frequency controller 3614, controls the amount of outgassing by applying a controlled current through pairs of electrodes 3612 positioned on opposite sides of each of the nodules 3610. The increased gas concentration reduces the resonant frequency of the scanner 3600. For greater frequency variation, absorptive polymer segments 3618 coat the scanners torsion arms 3620 to “amplify” the absorptive effect on resonant frequency.
Typically, the above-described variable or “active” tuning approaches are most desirable for producing small frequency variations. For example, such small frequency adjustments can compensate for resonant frequency drift due to environmental effects, aging, or internal heat buildup. To reduce the difficulty of active tuning approaches or to eliminate active tuning entirely, it is desirable in many applications to “tune” the resonant frequency of a scanner to minimize the difference between the scanner's uncompensated resonant frequency and the desired scan frequency. Such frequency differences may be caused by processing variations, material property variations, or several other effects.
The determined resonant frequency is then compared to the desired resonant frequency to identify a desired frequency compensation. Based upon the identified frequency compensation some of the tuning tabs 3702A–B, 3704A–B, 3706A–B, 3708A–B, 3710, and 3712 can be removed, for example by laser trimming or mechanical force to reduce the mass of the mirror body 3714. As is known, lowering the mass of the mirror body 3714 (in the absence of other variations) will increase the resonant frequency. The number and position of the tabs to be removed for the identified frequency compensation can be determined through modeling or empirical data. Preferably, the removed tuning tabs are positioned symmetrically relative to the center of mass of the respective half of the mirror body and with respect to the axis of rotation of the mirror body 3714. To make this symmetricity easier, the tuning tabs 3702A–B, 3704A–B, 3706A–B, 3708A–B, 3710, and 3712 are positioned in the symmetric locations about the mirror body 3714. For example, tuning tabs 3702A–B and 3704A–B form a quartet of tabs that would typically be removed as a group. Similarly, tuning tabs 3710 and 3712 form a pair of tabs that would typically be removed as a pair.
While the tuning tabs 3702A–B, 3704A–B, 3706A–B, 3708A–B, 3710, and 3712 in
As described above with respect to
As can be seen in
It can be seen in
To further improve efficiency the display of
During forward sweeps of the scanner 4110, an electronic controller 4120 activates the switch 4108 so that light passes through the second fiber 4106. The scanner 4110 thus redirects the light along a first scan line 4122 in the second region 4116. At the end of the forward sweep, the controller 4120 activates the switch 4108 so that light now passes through the first fiber 4104 and is scanned along a first scan line 4124 in the first region 4112. For each subsequent sweep of the scanner 4110, the controller 4120 activates the switch to produce sets of lines in each of the regions 4112, 4116. Because the vertical scan continues during the forward sweeps, the lines may be slightly tilted, as shown in
This structure is not limited to two horizontal tiles or to a single light emitter. For example, as shown in
In this approach, an input fiber 4200 is coupled to four fibers 4202, 4204, 4206, 4208 by a set of optical switches 4210, 4212, 4214, where each fiber feeds a scanning assembly 4216 from a respective angle. A switch controller 4220 activates the switches 4210, 4212, 4214 according to the direction of the sweep and according to the tracked location of the user's gaze, as provided by a gaze tracker (not shown). The gaze tracker may be any known apparatus for determining gaze direction.
For example, when the user looks at the top half of the image, a first fiber 4206, aligned to produce an image in the upper left tile 4222 feeds the scanning assembly 4216 during the forward sweeps. A second fiber 4208, aligned to produce an upper right tile 4224 feeds the scanning assembly 4216 during reverse sweeps. When the user looks at the lower half of the image, a third fiber 4204, aligned to produce the lower left tile 4226, feeds scanning assembly 4216 during forward sweeps. A fourth fiber 4202, aligned to produce the lower right tile 4228, feeds the scanning assembly 4216 during reverse sweeps. While each of the fibers 4200, 4206, 4208, 4204 is represented as a single fiber, in some applications each fiber 4200, 4206, 4208, 4204 may actually include a plurality of fibers 4200, 4206, 4208, 4204. In such applications each fiber 4200, 4206, 4208, 4204 is fed by a plurality of input fibers 4200 and a corresponding plurality of switch sets. Such an embodiment advantageously allows a plurality of lines to be written simultaneously. Writing a plurality of lines simultaneously reduces the frequency of the horizontal scanner relative to the single line writing approaches described above, thereby reducing the difficulty of scanning. Also, providing light simultaneously from a plurality of light emitters reduces the amount of light energy required from each source for a given display brightness and reduces the modulation frequency of the beam. This reduces the performance requirements of the light sources, thereby decreasing the cost and complexity of the overall display.
While the embodiments of
Although the invention has been described herein by way of exemplary embodiments, variations in the structures and methods described herein may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the positioning of the various components may also be varied. In one example of repositioning, the correction scanners can be positioned in the optical path either before or after the other scanners. Also, an exit pupil expander may be added or omitted in many applications. In such embodiments, conventional eye tracking may be added to ease coupling of the scanned beam to the eye. Moreover, the scanning system can be used for projection displays, optical storage and a variety of other scanned light beam applications, in addition to scanned retinal displays. Further, a variety of other timing control mechanisms, such as programmable delays, may be used to compensate for the variable speed of the scanner in place of the approaches described with reference to
In another alternative approach to timing and distortion correction, the memory map may be undistorted and addressed at a constant rate. To compensate for nonlinearity of the scanner, the data for each location is derived from the retrieved image data and output at fixed increments. Referring to